Director: William Dear
Writers: Fred Dekker (story), Darren Star (screenplay)
Cast: Richard Grieco, Gabrielle Anwar, Roger Rees, Linda Hunt, Robin Bartlett, Frederick Coffin, Roger Daltrey.
This operative has been living under an alias for the last five years, establishing, building and maintaining deep cover in the United States. Nobody knows what he looks like here. They don’t know his age, race or background. All that we do know is that he is arriving on air Trans-At flight thirty-five departing Detroit tomorrow morning under the codename “Michael Corben.” – Lt. Col. Larabee
This is one of my guilty pleasures from the nineties! I loved watching this movie every time it would come on HBO for the simple fact it is mindless entertainment. The film is a mix of Action, Comedy and Fantasy thanks to Fred Dekker, who wrote and directed The Monster Squad! It is not a great movie and has many flaws, biggest is the horrible acting, editing and cheesy script. If you can overlook those and just accept the film for what it is, a silly romp with some fun action sequences then you will be fine.
The plot of the film is as follows. Michael Corben is a high school senior with no follow through who spends too much time partying and not enough time going to class. Because of this he has received an incomplete in French which has resulted in him not being able to graduate. To be able to graduate on time he is forced to make up the French credit by traveling with his French class and unfortunately Mrs. Grober, his French teacher whom he does not get along with. On a fluke Michael Corben gets mistaken for an undercover spy working for the United States who is also named Michael Corben. He is pulled into a sinister plot and is given a lot of cool James Bond style toys to help him on his mission. With the choice of spending a few weeks traveling in a cramped bus with his classmates or pretending to be a super spy what would you choose?
Richard Grieco is actually good at Michael Corben, this is a role that he was meant to play. I never have been a big fan of Grieco but he is decent in this. I am a huge fan of the USA show, Burn Notice which stars Gabrielle Anwar. She is also in this role as the romantic interest of Michael Corben. Linda Hunt is a devious and yet fun bad guy. She is deadly despite her size and should not be underestimated. What would a spy thriller be without an evil henchman. This one has a mechanical hand.
There are a number of cool scenes in this movie. The whole sequence in the airplane during the trip over to France with Michael Corben in first class is lots of fun. That is because of Mrs. Grober, the French Teacher. I love her throughout the film, she is played by Robin Bartlett. Her character adds a lot of laughs throughout the film. Then there is the casino sequence where Michael Corben has the X-Ray Glasses, as a kid I wished I had them.
You may be noticing that there are not any pictures in this review like normal. That is because of an extremely poor selection of pictures to choose from. I am very lucky to have gotten the poster. The majority of the pictures I found online are of grainy or small quality. This film was not shot using the best film and the prints I think have deteriorated surprisingly over time. There is not a HD version of this film as of yet nor will there likely ever be.
The Bottom Line:
This is a fun movie with some decent action sequences and neat stunts. It will not win you over with its great script, or the quality of the film but you will hopefully enjoy it for what it is. If you want to watch this now you can watch it on NetFlix immediately by adding it to your instant queue!